Looking toward the Future

Churches in this 21st Century America face a great many challenges. Our flirtation with the god of this world in the areas of illegitimate power, ill-gotten money, and identifying passions have rooted itself in our practices, to the extent that we have accepted them as a matter of course. In many ways, the American church has strengthened itself in its own flesh – doing the best that man and money can do – while ignoring God’s power and program. And, if all this were not bad enough, we are failing to make disciples in our own families, creating a mission field out of the very ones who we ought to count on as the next generation of disciple-makers.

As Christ-followers and parents, we set the course that our children will navigate (Prov. 22:6). If we train them that success in business & education is most important, don’t be surprised when they carry this pursuit further than you have anticipated. If sports dominates your agenda and checkbook, than expect that this will become their highest priority. If you are most energized by politics, chisel it in stone that the cult of America will dominate their thinking in a greater way than does the gospel. As Voddie Baucham said, “We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar…and be surprised when they come back as Romans.”

For at least the past twenty years, American churches have been wringing their hands over the fact that our 18-22 year-olds have been walking out of our churches and not returning. We’ve learned to bemoan the fact that we have “lost” a generation. In many cases, however, we haven’t lost them. They are continuing to travel down the same course we set them on!

My goal in stating all of this is not to heap guilt or misery on parents. It is, however, a call for our churches to prioritize the most important things. Churches that appeal to sensuality to draw and keep members – it feels good, sounds good, tastes good, looks good, smells good – will inevitably have to rival the world to maintain our members’ allegiances. If we prioritize God’s glory as demonstrated through Jesus His Son, then there will be no other rivalry. No one else can offer the hope of Christ in us!

So, church leaders, we must ensure that we prioritize the most worth-while of things. We must proclaim the Gospel alone. We must depend on God’s power to grow His church. We must learn to enjoy God for who He is. And parents, we need to show our kids the values of highest importance. We must learn to enjoy the glories of Jesus Christ, and teach others to do the same.
In Him,
Pastor Jim